MUSCAT, OCT 2 – Tariq al Shaibani staged a raring ‘counter-chase run’ against opponents to clinch the ultimate prize in the Oman National Drift Championship Round 2 organised by the Oman Automobile Association (OAA) at its drift arena late on Friday. First-round winner Haitham al Hadidi, who suffered technical glitches in his car, claimed the second position while Ahmed al Amri finished third. In the final, Tariq was in ominous form but Haitham, who tried to match Tariq in the first round, found his car hit with more snags. The deciding second round was delayed for repair on Haitham’s car. Though the car was ready after some time, it broke down in the second round and virtually ending Haitham’s hopes for a consecutive top finish.
Tariq made a leap to top from his third place in the opening round. “Last time, I was pushed to third after some technical mistakes. I was planning to make amends for that in this round and I am very happy that I could romp home,” a pumped-up Tariq told Observer. The overall points after the first round saw Haitham leading with 110 points, Ahmed al Amri second with 95 and Tariq third with 73 points. With the win, Tariq is expected to close in on Haitham and Ahmed also staying in the hunt to set up an exciting duel for the overall championship in the third and concluding round on December 20.
Haitham put up a brave face after battling technical issues and ending second.
“I had technical issues with my car from the beginning itself. However, I was able to go far till the final. Under the circumstances, it was a decent effort for me,” the youngster, who won the first round with a hired car, said.
Third-placed Ahmed al Amri said he was satisfied with his performance also marred by technical issues with the car.
“I was planning to raise my performance in this round. But I could not do so due to technical issues with my car. Anyway, I could hang on to finish third,” he said.
There were 22 drivers in the qualifying round and 16 qualified to the first knockout round. Eight drivers made it to the quarterfinals from which last four drivers were selected.
In the first semifinal, Ahmed al Amri took on Haitham al Hadidi.
It was a family affair in the second semifinal when Tariq al Shaibani competed with his brother Ali al Shaibani.
After Haitham and Tariq reached the final, Ahmed beat Ali to claim the third place in the play-off.
A good turnout of over 3,500 spectators were present to watch the drift action. Chief guest for the night was HH Mohammed bin Salim al Said. Also present were OAA Vice-Chairman Brigadier Jamal bin Said al Taie, OAA General Manager Suleiman al Rawahi and other officials.
Jamal al Taie was pleased with the good crowd participation.
“The fans have come in large numbers. This shows the rising standard of the local competition. It will also set up a nice platform for the upcoming International Drift Championship,” he said.
The chief guest handed over the trophies and medals to the top-four winners. — AFP